Windows Media Video, aka WMV, is one of Microsoft's video file formats.
The WMV file format can use many different video codecs. Without w32codecs, no player in Debian supports all of these, so WMV support is only partial. Certain players can play certain WMV files. The main codecs are WMV1 (Microsoft Windows Media Video v1/v7 (WMV7)), WMV2 (Microsoft Windows Media Video v2/v8 (WMV2/WMV8)) and WMV3 (Windows Media Video 9 (WMV9)). WMV1, for example, is the FourCC denomination of Windows Media Video V7, FourCC being a four character code in the beginning of some media files.
The FourCC of a .wmv can be found by looking at the file's beginning. If you know a better way, please let others know.
w32codecs is only available for i386 and may infringe patents in certain countries. It can be obtained from the debian-multimedia repository.
kaboodle is an exception, as it doesn't support WMV at all.
WMV1 is supported by all video players.
WMV2 is supported by all video players.
WMV3 is supported by all players.
MSS2 can be played by MPlayer (or KMPlayer using MPlayer) with w32codecs.
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